Merry Christmas and Happy New Year Everyone!
Just a thought for this week- Lately here in Tarawa, due to recent modernization (more portable video players and laptops), an anti-Mormon video against the validity of the Book or Mormon as scripture has been spread around like a sickness from the other churches who take pleasure in bringing our Church down. I’ve seen stuff like this before. They’re actually easily answered questions if you know a thing or two about history, the Bible and the Book of Mormon. Frankly, they are pathetic ploys made to maim members’ faith and testimony. But, if you’re a member here and you’ve never heard of something like this before, it affects ya, I guess. Consequently, a lot of Kiribati members are a little shaken up from it. I’m sure this happens around the world. Actually, things have been this way since the beginning of time. But the internet has escalated misinformation to a new level- I’m sure many of you have seen.
Anyways, last Sunday was fast and testimony meeting and it was really cool hearing testimonies from about 25 people (there were so many), telling stories- most of them being about how the Book of Mormon changed their lives. So, Elder Christensen and I were talking and he shared a Book of Mormon scripture, Alma 62:41. It reads, ‘’But behold, because of the exceedingly great length of the war between the Nephites and the Lamanites many had become hardened, because of the exceedingly great length of the war; and many were softened because of their afflictions, insomuch that they did humble themselves before God, even in the depth of humility.’’
Affliction, sorrow, sickness, temptations and even ploys fixed by the adversary to damage testimonies of Christ and His church come to everyone! It’s inevitable in a fallen world. But, we can choose how we react. That’s where desire, action and faith come into play. You all know numerous scriptures that support this simple and crucial truth. We’re all given the same gift of agency- it being a central part of God’s plan built on Christ. When adversity comes, we can either become ‘’hardened’’ or ‘’softened.’’ I love how because of it, while some have been hurt, most have found humility, growth and strength in times of adversity.
I love the members here. It reminds me of one of my favorite scriptures in the Epistle of James. So many in his letters. James 4:10, ‘’ Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.’’
Though we live in a ‘’fallen’’ world, if we will simply humble ourselves in times of doubt or challenge, and exercise just the morsel of faith we have left, to walk the path shown by our Savior, Jesus Christ, He will recreate us. He will ‘’lift’’ us up, in faith, knowledge, strength, and He will make us into all we are meant to be. When we were ‘’softened’’ and like clay, we can be made into all the Master desires, but when ‘’hardened’’ we are left to our own abilities, which is hopelessness, never to truly progress in this life or the next, or receive the fullness of joy that comes from being humble enough to follow Him, and be made into more than we can imagine.
But remember this at all times: ‘’The Lord cannot give you something that you do not choose.’’ Your personal desire is required! Elder Dallin Oaks said, “Desires dictate our priorities, priorities shape our choices, and choices determine our actions. The desires we act on determine our changing, our achieving, and our becoming. It is our actions and our desires that cause us to become something, whether a true friend, a gifted teacher, or one who has qualified for eternal life.”
The Book of Mormon contains many teachings and lessons about the importance of desire.
Till next time,